Election 2022 live updates: Justice Department sending monitors to battleground states

Election 2022 live updates: Justice Department sending monitors to battleground states

With one day before the Nov. 8 election, both Democratic and Republican leaders portrayed confidence and optimism heading into the home stretch. 

President Joe Biden will stick close to home on Monday, campaigning in Maryland for gubernatorial candidate Wes Moore. Former President Donald Trump returns to Ohio to rally support around Republican Senate candidate JD Vance.

Both were out over the weekend, along with former President Bill Clinton, spending time on on both coasts to rally their party faithful and try to persuade any remaining undecided voters to come to their side of the aisle.

Here’s the latest:

  • The Justice Department will deploy election monitors to 64 locations on Election Day to ensure compliance with voter access laws and to prevent intimidation and interference.
  • President Joe Biden stumped for New York Gov. Kathy Hochul in her reelection bid Sunday, part of a final tour of stump speeches supporting Democratic candidates.
  • Former President Donald Trump held a rally with Republican Sen. Marco Rubio on Sunday.
  • Yevgeny Prigozhin, a wealthy Russian businessman and top confidante of Vladimir Putin, on Monday claimed the Kremlin has meddled in U.S. elections, in what appears to be the first such admission by a senior Russian figure.

What are the midterm elections?:Here’s what to know about them and why they’re important

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Former police officer injured on Jan. 6 endorses Fetterman

Michael Fanone, a former Washington, D.C., police officer who was injured during the Jan. 6, 2021 U.S. Capitol attack, has endorsed Pennsylvania Democratic Senate nominee John Fetterman.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, the Republican Senate nominee, “has aligned himself with Donald Trump, the first president in U.S. history to send his supporters to attack their fellow Americans – police officers – in an attempt to subvert democracy,” Fanone said in a new ad for Fetterman.

The endorsement comes as the two candidates are in a neck-and-neck race, according to recent polls.

– Candy Woodall

Court extends deadline for GA voters who didn’t get their absentee ballots

Atlanta – A Georgia judge issued an emergency ruling Monday extending the voting deadline to Nov. 14 for hundreds of Cobb County residents who hadn’t received their requested absentee ballots.

Election officials in Cobb County, which encompasses a large swath of Atlanta’s northern suburbs, failed to send out roughly 1,036 ballots. 

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s office called the error “unacceptable” and launched an investigation Monday after two civil rights groups filed a lawsuit.

As part of the ruling, the Cobb County Board of Elections will send ballots to those affected voters today by overnight delivery, according to the ACLU of Georgia.

Those voters can mail their ballots as long as they are postmarked by 7 p.m. on Nov. 8, and returned by Nov. 14.

 “This is an important result for these Cobb County voters, who through no fault of their own did not receive the absentee ballots to which they were legally entitled,” Jonathan Topaz, a staff attorney with the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project, said in a statement.

– Phillip M. Bailey

Biden: Democrats facing `some of the darkest forces’ in U.S. history

The Democratic Party is “up against some of the darkest forces” in American history, President Joe Biden said at a virtual reception for supporters Monday.

“These Maga Republicans are a different breed of cat,” Biden told members of the Democratic National Committee.

Still, Biden predicted Democrats have a fighting chance Tuesday, even though the party that controls the White House tends to take a beating in midterm elections.

“We should be being blown away,” Biden said. Instead, he said, he’s “optimistic” about the House and Democrats “have a shot at keeping the Senate and increasing it.”

“We’re going to surprise the living devil out of people,” Biden said during another virtual party gathering.

– Maureen Groppe

Black voters worry about cost of losing Senate control

LAS VEGAS — Beverly Williams, 59, said that, as a Black woman, she worries what it might mean if incumbent Democrat Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto lost to Republican Adam Laxalt. She worries it could lead to the rollback of protections for minority Americans, less emphasis on alternative energy and climate change, and harsh policing.

Acknowledging that inflation, gas prices and interest rates are top drivers for many voters, Williams said she’s focused on improving turnout in Las Vegas on Tuesday. Although tens of thousands have cast ballot during early voting which ended Friday.

“There’s a still of lot of ballots that need to be cast,” said Williams, a union leader for the local Teamsters and central labor council.

– Trevor Hughes

Biden: GOP will erase progress for Black Americans

President Joe Biden warned in a radio interview that Republicans will undo the progress that Black Americans have made under his administration if the GOP gains control of the House and the Senate.

“Every single thing that I’ve proposed, with virtually one or two exceptions, the Republican Party has been against it,” Biden said during the talk-radio program “Keepin’ It Real With Rev. Al Sharpton.” The interview was taped Sunday and broadcast on Monday.

Biden cited several initiatives his administration has pursued that he said have benefitted Black Americans, including student loan debt forgiveness, $5 billion in funding for historically Black colleges and universities, cutting the cost of prescription drugs and the appointment of the first Black woman on the U.S. Supreme Court.

– Michael Collins

Top Putin ally appears to admit Russian interference in U.S. elections

Yevgeny Prigozhin, a wealthy Russian businessman and top confidante of Vladimir Putin, allegedly claimed in a social media post Monday that the Kremlin intentionally has meddled in U.S. elections in an attempt to subvert American democracy.

Prigozhin, commonly referred to as “Putin’s chef,” made his remarks on Telegram, suggesting that the Kremlin will continue to interfere in the U.S. democratic process.  

His comments were reported by Reuters, CNN and other media outlets, and it was not immediately clear if Prigozhin was being serious or sarcastic. But his claims appear to be the first such admission by a senior Russian figure about Moscow’s interference in American elections – an allegation that Washington has been making for years.

In response to a journalist’s question about whether Russia is meddling in the midterm elections on Tuesday, Prigozhin said: “I will answer you very subtly, and delicately and I apologize, I will allow a certain ambiguity. Gentlemen, we interfered, we interfere and we will interfere.”

Like many other Russian oligarchs, Prigozhin is not a formal Kremlin official but retains close ties to its leadership through his various business dealings. Those include catering events for Putin and Prigozhin’s claimed ownership of a brutal paramilitary organization known as the Wagner Group.

The U.S. government has sanctioned Prigozhin for funding a notorious Russian troll farm called the Internet Research Agency or IRA. In July, the State Department offered up to $10 million in reward money for credible information on anyone trying to interfere in U.S. elections, singling out Prigozhin in particular.

Asked about Prigozhin’s comments, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said they “do not tell us anything new or surprising.”

“It’s well known and well documented in the public domain that entities associated with Yevgeny Prigozhin have sought to influence elections around the world, including the United States,” she said at a White House briefing. “The U.S. has worked to expose and counter Russia’s malign influence efforts as we discover them.”

– Josh Meyer

Pastor of Philly’s largest Black church worried about turnout

PHILADELPHIA – Rev. Alyn Waller said he preaches like he has a Bible in one hand and a newspaper in the other.

In his Sunday sermon at Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church – the largest Black church in Philadelphia with about 14,000 members – he talked about how the truth is on trial in America.

“As Christians, we strive to be good citizens, and voting is part of that,” Waller said.

But he’s concerned the faithful may not heed his words.

Black voters don’t fit in with the far right or far left and have been left behind by both Republicans and Democrats to some degree, he said. Democrats didn’t understand that the Black voters in his church cared about public safety and didn’t want to defund the police, and Republicans push an economic message without fully understanding their kitchen-table issues, Waller said.

“When you feel like neither party really cares about what’s going on in your life, you’re not as motivated to vote,” he said. “But it’s important to be heard because American democracy is on the line.”

– Candy Woodall

Youngkin, McCarthy in Virginia tonight for a Get Out the Vote rally

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin will join Republican nominee Jen Kiggans in Virginia Beach for a rally on the evening before Election Day.

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich will also be on stage, along with Virginia Lt. Gov. Winsome Sears and Attorney General Jason Miyares.

Kiggans faces Democratic Rep. Elaine Luria, who served on the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection. Luria has consistently outraised her opponent this election cycle, though their remains competitive with Luria having just a slight edge, according to Cook Political Report.

– Savannah Kuchar

Georgia Democrat calls the polls a ‘lie’

Speaking at a rally for Sen. Raphael Warnock rally on Monday, Georgia state Rep. James Beverly, the House Democratic leader, told the audience not to believe the polls showing his party behind.

“I don’t care what the polls say because they do one thing and one thing only – they lie,” he said.

Multiple polls have shown the race between Warnock and Republican opponent Herschel Walker to be a dead heat with the former NFL star holding a slight edge.

But Democrats and their allies in the Peach State point to record-breaking early voting as a sign that their optimism that they can resist a supposed GOP wave isn’t unfounded.

The secretary of state’s office reports Georgia voters exceeded expectations, and have shattered the 2.5 million mark for ballots cast prior to Election Day. That far exceeds the 1.8 million early voting ballots cast in 2018.

– Phillip M. Bailey

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Sisters carrying on mom’s legacy

PHILADELPHIA — When Danese Saunders and Deborah Garrett carry campaign signs and clipboards, they feel like they’re carrying on their mother’s legacy.

Florence Garrett was a Philadelphia city council candidate and community organizer who helped to elect numerous Democrats through the years. She died a day after Election Day in 2011, and since then her daughters have carried on her mantle of working phones and front porches to turn out the vote in Philadelphia.

On Monday, they were volunteering in Northwest Philadelphia to rally voters ahead of Election Day.

“She’s not here anymore, but her work lives on,” said Debra Garrett, 72, of Cheltenham Township in Montgomery County.

Saunders, 70, of the Mount Airy neighborhood in Philadelphia, was confident their work would produce good results on Tuesday.

Based on the enthusiasm they’re seeing, Saunders and Garrett are skeptical of a “red wave,” but acknowledge turnout will need to be high for Democrats to win. Their prediction? “Women are going to be a difference-maker in this election,” Saunders said.

And that would make their mom proud, they said.

– Candy Woodall

Here’s why security officials are concerned about claims of a hacked (or stolen) election

Despite an unprecedented U.S. focus on preventing hackers from targeting the midterm elections Tuesday, there are still concerns that malicious cyber operatives could disrupt or influence the vote by penetrating polling stations, voter registration rolls, ballot-counting efforts and even the news reports that tell Americans who’s winning state, local and federal elections.

Public and private sector security analysts say they’re especially concerned about malicious cyber actors making false claims that the election was rigged, hacked or stolen even when nothing of the sort occurred.

Such false claims, building on years of bogus election fraud narratives that began well before the 2020 presidential election, they say, could plunge the country into an unprecedented environment of political chaos and violence worse than that which spawned the Jan. 6, 2021, attack at the U.S. Capitol.

– Josh Meyer

Suffolk poll: In NH, Hassan has edge. In Arizona, Senate is anyone’s race

A new bellwether poll from Suffolk University showed a slight edge for Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan in New Hampshire and also revealed that Arizona’s Senate seat is anyone’s game, with Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly and Republican challenger Blake Masters almost tied.

Bellwether polls are polls conducted in specific communities to predict a winner – the communities tend to reflect the state’s overall vote. In the town of Barrington, New Hampshire, Hassan leads Republican Don Bolduc by 4 percentage points, at 49%-45%.

“As far as Barrington goes, it has been spot-on in New Hampshire midterms mirroring the statewide vote,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in a statement.

In Maricopa County, Arizona, Kelly leads with only 1 percentage point, nearly tied with Masters at 48%-47%.

Both polls were conducted Nov. 3-6 and have a margin of error of +/- 5.7%.

– Ken Tran

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Nevada unions plan final push for Democratic votes

LAS VEGAS — In Nevada, Las Vegas-area union workers are preparing a massive final push to get people to the polls, having already knocked on 930,000 doors by Monday morning, the UNITE HERE Culinary Union said.

The union, which represents thousands of Strip and casino workers, has focused its attention on turning out Black, Latino and Asian American/Pacific Islander voters, in part to help protect incumbent U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto from a tough Republican challenger who could flip control of the Senate.

After attending a union rally for Democrats on Sunday just outside Las Vegas, Maria Guadalupe Arreola, 58, said she was more dedicated than ever to her volunteer efforts to contact potential Democratic voters.

Arreola, who works as a cook, said she’s been making the case that keeping Democrats in charge will help protect immigrants and public education. She said many are unhappy about inflation and high gas prices, and she’s been urging them to look beyond their immediate needs.

“I’m really worried but I try to explain to them that we have to vote because if we don’t, things will get more difficult,” Arreola told USA TODAY.

– Trevor Hughes

Suffolk Poll on Nevada race:Place your bets: Pivotal Nevada Senate race a virtual tie amid economic alarm

DOJ deploying election monitors to 64 locations, key battleground states

The Justice Department is deploying election monitors to 64 jurisdictions across the country, including locations in the key battleground states of Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Federal monitors, drawn from the ranks of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and local U.S. attorneys’ offices, are regularly dispatched during election cycles in a attempt to ensure compliance with voter access provisions and guard against illegal interference and intimidation.

Justice’s Civil Rights Division will also field complaints from the public related to possible violations of the federal voting rights laws through its call center at 800-253-3931 or on the department’s website.

The Civil Rights Division enforces federal voting rights laws, while Justice’s Criminal Division enforces federal laws prohibiting voter intimidation and voter suppression based on race, color, national origin or religion. 

– Kevin Johnson

Cyber fears?:Here’s why security officials are concerned about claims of a hacked (or stolen) election

Over 1,000 mail-in ballots in Pittsburgh area might not be counted

In Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, over one thousand mail-in ballots have been reported as either incorrectly dated or not dated at all. The county is home to Pittsburgh, key to a victory for Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued an order last Saturday that told boards of elections not to count ballots that are undated or incorrectly dated. The order, issued days before the election, meant there was “not opportunity to notify impacted voters by letter of this decision and their opportunity to cure,” said Allegheny County’s office of elections in a statement.

Instead, the office released a list of over a thousand names, asking voters to check to see if their name is listed and if so, to cure their ballot.

– Ken Tran

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‘We have handcuffs for you’: Philly officials highlight election security

Officials in Philadelphia, an early front in former President Donald Trump’s effort to sow doubt in 2020 vote, issued pointed warnings Monday to those who may be contemplating new attempts at interference or intimidation:

“We have handcuffs for you; we have jail cells for you,” District Attorney Larry Krasner said an election security briefing.

In 2020, local election administrators became targets of a torrent of threats after Trump falsely referred to Philadelphia as a hotbed of election fraud, suggesting in a debate with then-candidate Joe Biden that “bad things happen in Philadelphia.”

Trump’s allegations unleashed a campaign of intimidation that continued for days after the election as authorities worked to certify the local vote.

On the eve of the midterms, officials said there would be little tolerance for such activity during this cycle.

“I’ll be damned in democracy dies on my watch,” said Omar Sabir, a Philadelphia election commissioner.

The district attorney and Mayor Jim Kenney also appealed for patience, signaling that a final vote may take days to complete.

“Nobody will be permitted to unlawfully interfere with this election,” Kenney said.

– Kevin Johnson

Fetterman’s closing argument in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA – This city, and especially the Black voters who live here, could determine if Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman leaves the state capital for the U.S. Capitol.

During a final plea to voters on Monday morning, Fetterman asked them to show up at the polls on Tuesday.

In 2016, more than 216,000 registered Black voters stayed home, and Republican Donald Trump defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton by about 44,000 votes in Pennsylvania.

Fetterman reminded campaign volunteers that every vote counts during his closing argument in the state’s largest city and population center Monday morning.

“I won my very first election by one single vote,” he said to supporters who gathered at a canvassing event on Limekiln Pike. Fetterman was referring to his first term as Braddock mayor, when in 2005 he won the seat by one vote.

– Candy Woodall

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Common Cause: Election Day is not results day

Election watchdogs and campaigns are warning the results of voting that end Tuesday might not be known for days because of how closely matched the candidates are in polls in states such as Pennsylvania.

The Keystone State is one of 38 states that prohibit counting mail-in votes before the polls open Tuesday. Polls close at 8 p.m., but the counting could take longer because election officials must process ballots such as checking to make sure the voter signs and dates the declaration outside the envelope.

“It takes time to count every vote accurately and that’s why Election Day is not results day,” Khalif Ali, executive director of Common Cause Pennsylvania, said in a statement. “Even if we don’t know the election winners when we go to bed, what matters most is making sure every voter’s ballot is counted accurately.”

 – Bart Jansen

Tom Cotton makes it official: He won’t run for president in 2024

As the 2002 midterm elections ends, the 2024 presidential race begins – but Tom Cotton won’t be a part of it.

The Arkansas senator, who traveled during the midterms to assess his chances for a presidential run, told Fox News that family considerations prevent him from taking the plunge.

“This is not the right time for our family for me to commit to a six-to-seven day a week campaign for the next two years,” Cotton told Fox News.

Cotton, who is only 45, did not rule out a future presidential bid: “This is a decision only about this 2024 race and this time for my family. We’ll make a decision about future races in the future.”

Expect a few of these kinds of announcements in the weeks ahead.

– David Jackson

If GOP wins big:What would a Republican Congress look like? A lot of investigations and maybe impeachment.

McCarthy shares Republicans’ plans on immigration, inflation

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who is poised to become House speaker if Republicans win control of the House this week, discussed in an interview with CNN on Sunday Republicans’ plans to secure the border and reduce inflation if in control of the House.

On immigration, McCarthy said Republicans will first introduce a bill to control the border and then focus on stopping drug cartels, preventing fentanyl from crossing the border and providing more resources to border agents.

The minority leader then blamed inflation partially on the passage of the American Rescue Plan. He said to make the economy stronger there is a need to curtail government spending, incentivize Americans to work and ensure the country is energy independent.

McCarthy said after the election, he will introduce provisions to ensure the House is financially in order. 

– Rachel Looker

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Biden stumps in New York

With enthusiasm brimming for New York Republicans, President Joe Biden came to Yonkers on Sunday evening to stump for Gov. Kathy Hochul and the New York Democratic ticket just 36 hours before polls open on Nov. 8.

It comes at a time of particular peril for New York’s ruling Democrats, who control all statewide offices, have majorities in the state Assembly and Senate, and hold 21 of 29 New York seats in Congress. They find themselves on the defensive, with Republicans making inroads in a state where Democrats outnumber them 2-to-1 in party enrollments.

He called on the students to vote, to maintain American democracy.

“You are the best educated, you are the least prejudiced, you are the most involved generation,” he said. “If you show up to vote, democracy is sustained.”

– David McKay Wilson and Erin Nolan, Rockland/Westchester Journal News

Gubernatorial races:Abortion, voting and COVID-19: Why we’re eyeing these 10 governor’s races in 2022 midterms

Trump gives DeSantis a nickname:Clinton, Sanders rally voters ahead midterm elections; GOP ‘will accept’ results: Sunday recap

Trump rallies for Rubio in Miami

Former President Trump lavished praise on Sen. Marco Rubio again and again Sunday at a rally in Miami, saying he’s “tough” and “smart” and “a true conservative warrior who gets the job done.”

Trump slammed his opponent, Rep. Val Demings as a “radical Democrat.”

Rubio told Trump and the crowd how important the election was to Miami, hammering home what he’s said in campaign ads and in campaign speeches: That Democrats and Demings, if elected, would bring socialism to South Florida and the nation.

“This is a community of people who lost their (home) country — they saw the destruction of countries, the nation of their birth,” he said. “They saw what socialism and communism and Marxism can do, and they are not going to lose this country.”

“Like so many Americans, they love America, but when you know what life is like somewhere else, you will fight to save it,” he said.

Trump followed up, saying, “I wish I would have said that. That was very good. He’s a great guy.”

– USA TODAY Network-Florida

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Rubio says he’ll win big in Florida

Sen. Marco Rubio predicted Sunday he was going to win the U.S. Senate race against Democrat Val Demings with a strong GOP voter turnout, cautioning Republican voters to not pay attention to the latest polls showing him and Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis with huge leads against their opponents.

“The only thing only thing at this point that I believe can save Democrats here in Florida up and down the ballot is if Republicans decide to stay home because they see polling numbers and think it’s no longer competitive,” Rubio told Fox News host Trey Gowdy on his “Sunday night in America” show. “Then we would make it competitive by not showing up.”

– Sergio Bustos, USA Today Network-Florida Enterprise/Politics Editor

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Clinton stumps in Vegas for Cortez Masto

Speaking to a crowd of union workers a few miles east of the Las Vegas strip, former President Bill Clinton ticked off the issues he said are top of mind for many voters: inflation, unemployment and gas prices.

But he said fear of short-term pain shouldn’t drive elections, criticizing Republican candidates and voters he called “right now” people unwilling to look beyond their own immediate desires.

“This is not rocket science. And I’ve reached the age where the thing I care the most about is the world my grandchildren live in,” Clinton, 76, said. “You don’t have to reward the ‘right now’ people who are going to make it worse.”

– Trevor Hughes

Georgia isn’t a ‘lost cause,’ civil rights leader says

As Democrats look to block a predicted “red wave” for Republicans on Tuesday, Georgia will once again be in the spotlight.

In the gubernatorial race, Democratic challenger Stacey Abrams is trailing Republican incumbent Brian Kemp, who holds a comfortable lead in most public surveys. Georgia could also be the linchpin once again for who controls the Senate, as Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock is in a dead heat with Republican challenger Herschel Walker.

Mawuli Davis, an Atlanta-based civil rights attorney, said despite the polling national observers shouldn’t count out the Peach State yet.

“Georgia is not a lost cause,” he said. “In fact, we think there’s a real possibility we’re going to really shock those who think that there’s going to be this wave.”

– Phillip M. Bailey

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